21/10/2015 21:41 BST | Updated 22/10/2015 17:59 BST

Alex Salmond Wins LGBTI Award And Tells Officials Not To 'Fool About' With Human Rights

Alex Salmond has been honoured for his contribution towards achieving equality for LGBTI people and in doing so pleaded with ministers to not "fool about" with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The former first minister was presented with the Ally Award at the PinkNews 10th anniversary and awards at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Wednesday night.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson was named politician of the year for having "broken new ground" by appearing with her partner Jen Wilson in a party political broadcast before May's general election, the gay news service said.

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Alex Salmond, pictured with comedian Rhona Cameron, was honoured for his work towards achieving equality for LGBTI people

Salmond was hailed for his long-standing support for LGBTI rights, from his backing for an equal age of consent to his role in introducing equal marriage in Scotland.

The now MP for Gordon said he was "honoured" to accept the award and used his speech to make a "plea to our hosts".

He said: "Don't fool about with the European Convention on Human Rights because it is the instrument by which equality in so many areas has been achieved.

"It is also the means by which we can talk to the other countries... so please don't fool about with it."

Salmond said since he had first become an MP, Scotland had "taken huge strides towards becoming the fair and equal country that we all want to see".

He said the creation of the Scottish Parliament had allowed "us to change the law for the better" and as a result Scotland was now rated the most progressive in Europe for LGBTI rights".

Salmond said he was "proud" to lead the government which introduced "one of the best equal marriage acts in the world", but said the job was far from done.

He said: "There is still further to go to protect and promote equality and human rights in the UK and internationally, including securing the additional powers we need to deliver greater progress in Scotland.

"I am confident that together we are moving in the right direction and that achieving full equality is now a case of not if, but when."

Benjamin Cohen, chief executive of PinkNews, said Salmond was a "deserving winner" of its annual Ally Award.


He said: "Through his leadership, Scotland has equal marriage legislation that is considered the gold standard around the world.

"As a result of his time as First Minister, Scotland has become a fairer, more open and tolerant place for LGBT+ to live in and through his actions he has ensured an enduring legacy that will benefit our community for generations to come."

Davidson told the audience she had "no idea how to be gay in public" when she was first elected, but said she always "tried hard to always be an honest voice when asked about LGBT issues and to show myself and my relationships in an honest way".

She added: "I was so proud of my partner, Jen, when she asked me earlier this year if we could do something to help during the equal marriage debate in her native Ireland.

"She is not a public figure - and came to Scotland 12 years ago to feel be able to be her whole self - so it was a massive step for her to want to talk frankly and honestly in the Irish media.

"I hope small acts like our party election broadcast, holding hands on the way to vote as any other political couple might do, and others, helps to make sexuality a non-issue in the politics of the future."